Awards ceremony recognized graduating WVSOM students

Students in the graduating Class of 2019 were recognized for their achievements in medical school during an annual Graduation Awards Ceremony at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) on May 24. Graduation awards totaled $36,500.

This year’s class consisted of 199 participating graduates, with 121 graduates entering primary care residency programs and a 99 percent residency match rate for the class.

The event recognized 21 students who graduated with honors. In addition, 32 students were recognized as members of Psi Sigma Alpha, a national osteopathic scholastic honor society. Nine students were recognized with the American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Citation for Academic Achievement. Forty-seven students received cords reflecting their membership in Sigma Sigma Phi, a national osteopathic medicine fraternity that supports medical scholastic excellence. Fifteen graduates were recognized with special coins for their military service.

The WVSOM Alumni Association Roland P. Sharp Graduate Award was created to honor the values of WVSOM’s first president. The award honors graduating students who exemplify Dr. Sharp’s vision of holistic care and service. The WVSOM Alumni Association selected Audreanna James and Nicholas Rawson as this year’s winners.

The Olen E. Jones WVSOM Foundation Academic Achievement Award is presented to a student graduating in the top 10 percent of the class. The WVSOM Foundation Board of Directors selected Taylor Markell as this year’s winner.

Karthik Shankar received the Opal Price Sharp Memorial Award for dedication to osteopathic medicine.

WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative (RHI) recognized 11 graduates who participated in the program. The RHI program is designed to enhance the rural primary care curriculum at WVSOM and produce graduates uniquely qualified to practice medicine in underserved communities in rural West Virginia. Those recognized were Jennifer Bannister, Carrie Fox, Aron Hart, Jillian Hughart, Rachael Huwyler Wiig, Janet Kowalsky, Callum Lewandrowski, Benjamin Noble, Chelsi Rose, Thomas Schwabenbauer and Jade Stobbe.

National Health Service Corps Scholar recipients are selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration from students pursuing a career in primary health. In exchange for the scholarship, students agree to practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area with limited access to care upon graduation and licensure. The students commit to one year of service for every year the scholarship is awarded, with a two-year minimum commitment. This year’s recipients were Adrian Renaldi and Ashley Rubin.

The MSOPTI Rural Scholar program aims to increase the likelihood that students from West Virginia medical schools will self-select residency programs located in the state, establish a relationship in the community and commit to practice medicine in that area. MSOPTI, in partnership with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, provided awards to two graduating students who have been accepted into MSOPTI residency training programs in the state. This year’s scholarship recipients were Hannah Mick and David De Wit.

The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia Farson-Smith-Earley Award is presented to a fourth-year student who has matched to a West Virginia primary care residency with the intent to practice in a rural area. This year’s recipient was Janet Kowalsky.

The Donald Newell Sr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior is presented to a graduating student who, in the opinion of his/her classmates, best exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, osteopathic professional interest, leadership and citizenship. This year’s recipient was Daniel Truong. 

The Gwen Clingman Memorial Scholarship is presented to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to community service throughout his or her time in medical school. Daniel Truong was recognized with the scholarship.

The John and Nancy Chambers Memorial Scholarship is given to a student who intends to practice medicine in an underserved community and whose academic performance was strong. It is in honor of two of the most revered former WVSOM professors. This year’s recipient was Nicholas Rawson.  

The Olivia Claire Obrokta Pediatric Award recognizes a student who is committed to serving in a pediatric specialty. Deena Obrokta, D.O., Class of 1994, formed the award after losing her granddaughter after only a couple of months. This year’s recipient was Benjamin McMillion. 

The Dr. Catherine A. Bishop Scholarship Award recognizes a fourth-year student committed to a residency program in West Virginia. This year’s recipient was Callum Lewandrowski. 

This was the inaugural year for the David Hinchman, D.O., Emergency Medicine Scholarship. The scholarship was formed by Brant Hinchman, D.O., Class of 2012, to honor his retired father, from WVSOM’s Class of 1982, and others who have helped medical students become emergency medicine physicians. The scholarship is given to a graduating student who intends to enter an emergency medicine residency. This year’s recipient was Jillian Blalock.

The Stephanie Dawn Barragy Memorial Scholarship was formed to honor Charles and Jean Cornell’s daughter, who was a victim of suicide. The scholarship recognizes a student committed to working on behalf of mental health issues, with a focus on patient care and intervention. Pauline Phan was this year’s scholarship recipient.

The Dr. William R. Holmes Scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown determination, persistence and commitment in pursuing a medical education. This year’s scholarship was presented to Ondrea Timmermann.   

The West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Award was presented to Melissa Villa. Each year the organization recognizes one student from each of the three medical schools in West Virginia whose performance in clinical rotations reflects an understanding and commitment to the delivery of emergency care.

The Order of the Vesalius Award is presented to a student who has served as a graduate teaching assistant in the biomedical sciences department. Aaron Haag was presented with this year’s award.

Jennifer Bannister and Andrea Loving were honored with the RAMS Head Award. The award is granted to students who served as graduate teaching assistants in the osteopathic medical education department.

The Clinical Sciences Award, which recognizes students who served as graduate teaching assistants in a clinical sciences or family medicine capacity, was awarded to Delaney Keane and Scott Gay.

Two students from each of the seven Statewide Campus regions received awards for their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations. Jillian Blalock and Melissa Villa received recognition for the Northern region; Callum Lewandrowski and Puja Patel received recognition for the Eastern region; Aaron Haag and Daniel Lofgren received recognition for the Central East region; Aaron Estep and Lisa Smith received recognition for the Central West region; Kaitlin McDade and Daniel White received recognition for the South East region; Hayden Moore and Kayla Rizzo received recognition for the South Central region; and Justin Hanson and Benjamin McMillion received recognition for the South West region.

The Merck Manual Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the top two male students and top two female students based on grade point average in their class. The awards went to Callum Lewandrowski, Taylor Markell, Sana Siddiqui and Anjali Varghese.

The Donna Jones Moritsugu Award recognizes an osteopathic medical student’s spouse or partner. The recipient exemplifies the role of a professional’s partner in providing support to their family and the osteopathic profession. This year’s recipient was Salman Kermali, spouse of Sepeedeh Araghiniknam.

Date Added: 
Monday, June 3, 2019